Punishment for Insulting the Spirit of Grace (Part 2)
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:29)
Yesterday we saw how this passage can make God appear to be vindictive. However, we learned from further study that it is not so much that God is seeking “payback” for offending Him. The passage is actually teaching that when people reject His grace He is left with no choice but to allow them to suffer that which grace had freed them from.
This describes God’s method of what we understand to be punishment. It is important that we understand the method by which God is said to punish if we are to understand the truth concerning His loving character. Many people read statements like the one in Heb. 10:29 and think that God directly energizes events that bring punishment upon people. An often stated but little recognized principle of Scripture is the fact that when we push God away, we lose His protection.
For example we read statements in Scripture such as “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chron. 15:2b) and “because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you” (2 Chron. 24:20b; see also 12:5). In Jeremiah punishment is directly connected to God's forsaking, or rather, removing His presence and protection:
And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the Lord? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the Lord. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the Lord, I will even punish that man and his house (Jeremiah 23:33-34)
Remember that all of this comes about because the people have first forsaken God. The curses in Deut. 28 are the results of the people forsaking God, pushing Him away, and He in turn forsaking them and leaving them to suffer the consequences of their rebellion (Deut. 31:16-17; see also Psalm 81:10-16). When we reject the Blood of Jesus and the Spirit of grace we reject all the benefits that accrue from it.
Visit our web page: www.vindicatinggod.org
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To learn more about God's mode and method of punishment consider purchasing our book, "How? A look at God's Character in light of Biblical passages that are inconsistent with love"